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Happy Hanukkah Poster

Happy Hanukkah Poster

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Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is one of the most joyous times of the Jewish year. The reason for the celebration is twofold (both dating back to c. 165 BCE): the miraculous military victory of the small, ill-equipped Jewish army over the ruling Greek Syrians, who had banned the Jewish religion and desecrated the Temple; and the miracle of the small cruse of consecrated oil, which burned for eight days in the Temple's menorah instead of just one.

Hanukkah is celebrated by:

  • lighting a menorah for eight nights with olive oil or wax candles; one on the first night and an additional one each succeeding night, so that the last night has eight lights
  • eating food fried in oil, especially potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly doughnuts (sufganiyot)
  • playing with a dreidel, a four-sided top; the player wins or loses money depending on which side it lands on (each is marked with a different Hebrew letter)
In 1997, a 60-foot, 18-ton menorah was built in Latrun, Israel; a rabbi was lifted by crane each night to kindle the lights. The same year, a 12-foot pyramid of 2,400 jelly doughnuts was built near Afula, Israel; the pastries were later distributed to soldiers serving near the northern border.

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